Since releasing "Pet Fooled", I have received a lot of messages from people asking "what brand should I feed" or "what brand is good"? My answer is for all pet parents to please consider feeding a variety of brands and proteins. Getting stuck with feeding only "one" food is a result of conditioning and marketing from the major industry. You don't have to ONLY EVER FEED ONE THING! Your animal should be able to alternate proteins and brands without G.I. upset so I'm hoping that can be an attainable goal for most people moving into the future.
To address the brand question, I've walked through "Petropolis" in NYC with the store owner TAZZ to see what is on the shelves. Take a look!
In the beginning when I was researching for "Pet Fooled", there were two major points of view that I had to investigate and get to the bottom of. One was the industry side where they claimed that grains were great, raw could potentially kill your pet or your family member, and rendered ingredients were great!
The other side was concerned about extremely processed foods commonly available in big box stores. Everything I grew up believing in regarding pet food was challenged. I never before thought twice about commercial pet food growing up. It was just something normal that you purchased at the store along with toothpaste or groceries. The question "what IS actually appropriate for dogs and cats to eat" is the question the industry exploits with the wide range of products available on the market. Apparently, a food can meet the requirements and be "complete and balanced" if it's a raw food without grains or if it's a food heavy in grains like corn, wheat, and soy. So there's a wide range of ingredients that can "meet" (use that term loosely) the nutritional requirements, as per AAFCO, for dogs and cats. Does that mean they're 100% appropriate? No. It just meets the AAFCO standards and the big companies sit on the AAFCO panels to get "agreement".
The more I researched, I was able to see a common marketing tactic used by the major industry. It's called FUD. It stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt and it's the cheapest marketing tactic available and it's very effective. The goal with the FUD marketing tactic is to suggest that "competition" problems are problematic and if you research the pet food industry for a while, these tactics bubble to the surface. A good example is a kibble company bashing raw for containing salmonella when kibble diets have sickened humans to hospitals from salmonella poisoning.
Sadly, FUD is being used by veterinarians as well as the major industry. Maybe they're aware that they're using FUD or maybe they're unaware. It depends on the individual vet.
I had correspondence last year with a local Los Angeles veterinarian and I'm including that correspondence below. I was completely shocked by the fear, uncertainty, and doubt tactics used in the flier this veterinarian was passing around. So I wrote this veterinarian asking for more specific details because it's confusing to me how a veterinarian can use fear statements like this will be "potentially deadly to YOU and YOUR FAMILY." The words deadly is being used along with the clever word "potential". Potential is a legal cop out to spread doubt when an issue isn't actually happening. So you can say "potential" and get away with what you're saying. I could also say you have the "potential" to DIE while crossing the street. Or you can "potentially" go to the hospital and DIE from feeding dry food. See how that works?
Also understand that if the industry doesn't address the raw food feeding style 100% head on with nutritional studies themselves, they can continue making money on lower quality products. If in the future when the market moves towards the fresh food feeding style, they can capitalize on that as well. These companies claim to care about the health of your animal, but they haven't addressed health issues relating to feeding style comparisons with their "tests" when they're making billions and claiming they're backed up by science. That doesn't stop them or veterinarians from bashing feeding styles like home cooked or raw diets.
Here is the flyer that was passed around by this veterinarian using fear, uncertainty, and doubt techniques.
After reading through this flyer, I wrote the veterinarian to get more clarifications since a lot of what is stated is VERY leading and spreads more doubt than actual issues occurring. Below is the correspondence and you can see that the veterinarian is very short in her responses. She even uses individuals with HIV as an excuse for why she sent this flyer out!
Her name and e-mail have been removed but the exchanges are below in full.
Based on the original flyer, I'm not convinced with the veterinarian's sources or bases for sending out this flyer. If there were 1,000 people in the hospital or dead because they fed raw food to their dogs or cats, that would be an issue. But that didn't happen and it isn't happening.
This is what I define as "raw bashing". It's always a veterinarian with an agenda (hired by dry or home cooked feeding company for example) that will claim someone like me is biased or defending raw. As you can see in the flyer above, the issue is the fear tactics being used that have nothing to do with the reality of what's going on.
What I'm defending is truth for customers without fear, uncertainty, and doubt tactics being used. There is SO much vested interest in this industry and it's immensely overwhelming for consumers to navigate through all the marketing tactics to figure out what exactly they're buying. So many great companies exist that don't use fear tactics, but it's important to be aware of the tactics and how they're most often used.